Crime-Fighting Immigration Legislation Becomes Law

The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act received Royal Assent on June 19, 2013, making it law in Canada (Steven W. Dengler)

The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act has officially become law, making it easier to deport foreign criminals from Canada.

Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney welcomed the grant of Royal Assent to the legislation:

“This new law will keep Canadians safer by ending endless appeals and loopholes that were being used by dangerous foreign criminals to delay their deportation, during which time many committed more crimes.

Canadians can now feel more confident in the integrity of our immigration system because violent criminals and fraudsters will be kept out while genuine visitors are welcome.”

The legislation amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to:

  • Make deportation of foreign criminals from Canada easier;
  • Increase barriers to dangerous individuals entering Canada; and
  • Reduce hurdles for non-dangerous visitors to Canada.

The legislation has received the support of several organizations, including the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs, the Canadian Police Association, and Victims of Violence and Immigrants for Canada.

Among the changes made by the legislation are limiting the access to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)’s Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) from foreign criminals, which CIC says will reduce the time criminals are able to stay in Canada by up to 18 months.

The Act also prevents foreign nationals who are deemed inadmissible on the grounds of being a threat to national security, being responsible for human trafficking or international rights violations, or being party to organized criminality, from appealing to remain in Canada under humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Another change made by the legislation is the grant of new “negative discretionary powers” to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to refuse temporary entry even in cases when an individual has not been deemed a foreign criminal or inadmissible on the grounds of being a security threat or having involvement in human trafficking, international rights violations or organized criminality.

This power is the most controversial, as it enables a political party to refuse entry for political purposes. Many have charged the Harper government with doing this in 2010 when it initially refused to allow anti-war British MP George Galloway to enter Canada, based on accusations that his anti-war statements amounted to support for terrorism.

Kenney has tried to reassure critics that the new Ministerial power won’t be used in this way:

“We’re not looking at some broad, generalized power to prevent the admission of people to Canada whose political opinions we disagree with but rather those whose hateful attitudes, if given expression in Canada, could potentially lead to hateful actions or violence.”

Whether in years to come, the political inclinations of Canada’s ruling political party, whichever that may be, could bias their determination of what is a dangerous “hateful attitude”, remains to be seen.

—————————————————-

One of our licensed immigration consultants can speak with you in person, online or on the phone about your unique immigration situation and give you a breakdown of your options.bookappointment

Canadian Immigration Minister Seeks Input on Improving “Negative Discretion” Criteria

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said he will seek the input of MPs of all parties to define the negative discretion powers that the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act grants the Immigration Department

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said he would like advice from members of all parties on clarifying the negative discretionary powers of Bill C-43, the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, to prevent it from being used to bar foreigners simply for having unpopular views, while still giving the government the power to bar those who would likely promote hate or violence in the country.

The current version of Bill C-43 would give the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration the discretion to bar from Canada foreigners who have not been found inadmissible to visit Canada due to security, human or international rights violations, or organized criminality, based on public policy considerations.

Kenney said that he would like input on exactly what criteria will be used to determine whether a foreigner will be barred, so that the bill does not grant the Department of Citizenship and Immigration broad powers.

“We’re not looking at some broad, generalized power to prevent the admission of people to Canada whose political opinions we disagree with but rather those whose hateful attitudes, if given expression in Canada, could potentially lead to hateful actions or violence,” he said.

He said he will seek advice from other MPs on how exactly to “strike the right balance” in Bill C-43 between the dual goals of giving immigration authorities the discretion necessary to bar entry to promoters of hate or violence and defining and limiting the discretionary powers of the Immigration department to prevent it from being used inappropriately:

“I’m, quite frankly, going to ask all the members from all the parties at the immigration committee to give me their best advice on how to strike the right balance.”

The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, introduced by Kenney in June, passed its first reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on Tuesday in parliament by a vote of 252 to 31.

—————————————————-

One of our licensed immigration consultants can speak with you in person, online or on the phone about your unique immigration situation and give you a breakdown of your options.bookappointment

Conservative Government Introduces ‘Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act’

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney last week introduced legislation to speed up the deportation of foreign criminals from Canada. Under current laws, some refugee claimants who have been convicted of crimes have been able to delay their deportation for years through repeated appeals of removal orders, while receiving welfare and other government benefits during their time in Canada.

The new legislation, the ‘Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act’, would:

  • eliminate the right of convicted criminals who have been sentenced to more than six months in prison to file an appeal of a removal order to the Immigration Appeal Division
  • eliminate the right of foreign nationals who have been found by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada to have committed serious security, human rights, and international rights violations, or had involvement with organized crime, to appeal for refugee status under “Humanitarian and Compassionate” provisions
  • make foreign nationals who have family members who have been found by the federal government to be inadmissible to visit Canada on grounds of security, human or international rights violations, or organized criminality, also inadmissible to visit Canada, even if travelling without that family member

In 2010, the Conservative government briefly barred George Galloway, an anti-war British MP, pictured above, from entering Canada (David Hunt from Warwickshire, UK)

The legislation would also give the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration the discretion to wave inadmissibility restrictions for an individual, and to deny temporary resident status to foreign nationals who have not been found inadmissible to visit Canada due to security, human or international rights violations, or organized criminality, based on public policy considerations.

In 2010, the Conservative government attempted to prevent George Galloway, an anti-war British MP, from entering Canada, based on accusations that he supported terrorism. The discretionary powers granted by the new legislation would codify the ability of the federal government to prevent particular foreign nationals who meet all legislated eligibility requirements for visiting Canada from entering the country.

—————————————————-

One of our licensed immigration consultants can speak with you in person, online or on the phone about your unique immigration situation and give you a breakdown of your options.bookappointment